Mika Katz

  • I think it was really important to note the words in bold print. In my personal interpretation of the ink, I saw the ink in the beginning as something sure, concrete, even a sure identity. But in the way that it’s written and printed, it almost forces the reader to believe what’s written as facts. As the words descend on the page and blur out, the…[Read more]

  • When initially looking at the format of the poem, I noticed that is it split into two parts. In the first line of the poem the speaker states, “Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black faces” (1). Of the speakers experience in prison he remembers looking at these photos and connecting with these family members, almost as if they are…[Read more]

  • I was very intrigued by Debra’s idea of “taking the novel or poem that we read for granted and assume that each line is connected to one another”. In one sense the author could want the reader to interpret every single line separately. Perhaps he arranged the periods like that for that reason, to force the reader to stop and analyze. In anoth…[Read more]

  • How do you see these two poems navigating the personal and the political? What imagery and historical/political references do you find interwoven with more personal details of the poet’s life? Does this change t […]

    • I think the “you,” the apostrophe in this poem adds a critical dimension to what is at play here. I agree that it is too simple to say this is simply against racism, and specifically South Africa. Especially in the three opening lines, I think Lorde is making clear that not only are they affected but we are affected as well. Not only are they to blame but we are also to blame. The “you” is intentionally ambiguous. On a side note, the dig at the New York Times is also adding to this dimension of placing a larger blame on society.

    • One of the things mentioned in Lorde’s short biography that we were asked to read is that Lorde was known to address racism, sexism, and homophobia in her poems. In her writing she was known to deny the oppressive nature of male privilege. After reading this poem, I notice that she never describes a male figure, except for the end of the poem to describe them at war. When she mentions the New York Times article, about the “first white South African killed in the ‘unrest,’” she does not mention the gender of this person. She also describes female children that suffer and describes her and her sister as “two Black women touching our flame.” It is also interesting to note that she asks her sister to come to her country so that they can “fight side by side,” fighting (in war) being an action that men were mainly known for. I think in addition to what Mika mentioned, how this poem discusses the horrors of South Africa, she might also be adding in her own anti-sexist feelings as well.

    • Rich explains that once words are taken out of context they can be used to manipulate what the author intended and even to manipulate history. With this knowledge of the power of words we are cautioned to be careful of what we write down as in the future they may “be used against us or against those we love”. I agree with Mika’s interpretation of lines 24-26, of the freedom of speech and writing that we have, but our responsibility to use it wisely, as anything one says or writes is then out there in the public and anyone can access it and it can be used against them.

    • If language is communication, then written language is a way to clearly organize what we are trying to communicate not only to each other but to ourselves. Words, like images, need context in order to have understanding. Society relies on being able to define something by its relation to other things. To change the meaning of something, you change its context. In “North American Time” Rich talks about writing about a women braiding another woman’s hair. According to Rich, when writing about the hair braiding “you had better know the thickness, the length the pattern, why she decides to braid her hair, how it is done to her, what country it happens in, what else happens in that country, You have to know these things” (52-58). All of these details provide a context. The length at which the details are given are a defense against manipulating the context in which something is said.
      When you write, your writing depends on your knowledge and your emotions at the time in which you are writing. In that sense, we should not be permanently held responsible for what we write. Increase in knowledge might change a person’s view point which in turn changes how they feel on whatever they wrote. However, the writer deliberately wrote the specific words they choose. Those thoughts could have remained as thoughts but instead the writer choose to write them, exposing them to the world. In that sense the writer is responsible for the writing and for the impact of their writing.
      I think Lorde is protesting the amount of human cruelty. When choosing to mention the atrocities that happened in South Africa, all of the victims mentioned are young, defenseless, children. Lorde starts the poem with the death of her lover’s fifteen year old daughter. The emotions felt about what is happening are descriptions from an intimate view point such as “like salt from the lips of a women” (42). The last stanza of the poem parallels Lorde’s lover to that of African Warrior Queen Mmanthatisi, who is also a mother.

    • Mika asks, “what is the true meaning of language?” I think Rich answers that in her poem, when she says in section VII, “I am thinking this in a country / where words are stolen out of mouths / as bread is stolen out of mouths.” This metaphor seems to answer the question – language is to a person the way bread is to a person – it is a life force, something that is essential to the survival of every human being. Language also comes along with responsibilities, as we are “held responsible for what we say,” but more than that, more than the fact that language is permanent, it is also the crux of a person’s existence. Speech in general, and freedom of speech in particular, is more than a privilege, it is a necessity for a person’s very survival.

  • I definitely agree with everything that you’ve stated. This relationship with her father is complicated, confusing, and ambiguous. I was equally as confused by the fact that Plath calls her father “daddy” as opposed to her father, or her dad. Perhaps because her father died when she was young, she might have been able to identify with him more…[Read more]

  • To a certain extent I feel that there is some sense of self-disclosure. However, it’s much more complex than just self-disclosure. There seems to be a much greater, more vastly spread, and ambiguous “You” in this poem. It is not just referring to him or the reader. It is a universal “You”. There are so much important outside information that real…[Read more]

  • I think the format of the long run-on sentence serves a very important purpose. Along with the title, it prepares the reader for what they are about to read. The long run-on sentence is filled with troubling images and themes. I noticed a great deal of frustration in his tone when he refers to the self-destruction of his generation. It was…[Read more]

  • I don’t exactly think that O’Hara wants the reader to replicate anything. He doesn’t seem to have an underlying connection with the reader, it’s more of a poem about him, about the speaker. I think time plays a gargantuan role in the poem since it has to do with death. It doesn’t necessarily have to be time itself but the essence of time, pha…[Read more]

  • “I Too” by Langston Hughes reveals several tensions. One tension that I initially noticed was one of equality and freedom. In line 1 of the poem, Hughes states, “I, too, sing America”. He is clarifying here that he […]

    • The second question that you ask here is very interesting. I hadn’t thought of it initially, but in truth, Hughes is right on point when he says Americans will feel “ashamed,” as that is indeed in line with how I feel after reading this poem. Hughes clearly addresses ALL of America as rejecting the blacks. He doesn’t say “white people,” he says very clearly, “I, too, sing America.” It’s as if Hughes is saying, don’t try and hide behind some title, as if you weren’t included in the anti-black ideology, for AMERICA as a whole is to blame.
      This idea kind of shifts at the end of the poem however, when Hughes says, “I, too, am America.” Now Hughes wants to be included in “America,” and I would then have to say that here Hughes is talking about all the positive things associated with America and the American Dream. So the good stuff about being American is indeed here, as well as the not so pretty, perhaps immoral underside of America as well.

    • In answering your first question what I noticed in reading your post is that Hughes is describing the life of a child in their parents’ home. When the company comes they are often seated at the childrens table in the kitchen so “They won’t be bored by the adults.” Reading this poem made me realize that (a) most of my childhood was me being forced to eat in the kitchen for my own sake and (b) more importantly the fact that not only were African Americans treated as inferior people but is similar to the way we treat irresponsible or immature children today. And so to answer your first question Hughes must feel a tremendous amount of resentment towards the whites because he was never given the chance to prove himself at the “adult” table and it was just assumed that he didn’t belong there.

  • I definitely agree when you said that this poem is about Jazz as music, however I think there is a much deeper meaning than that. Hughes states, “To me jazz is a montage of a dream deferred. A great big dream—yet to come—and always yet—to become ultimately and finally true”. This is a very important line to point out. This dream is more than just…[Read more]

  • When I initially read the poem I was truly at a loss of words. I felt confused, and quite honestly have never come across anything even remotely similar to that poem. I found myself struggling to pronounce words due to the excessive repetition in the poem. I think it’s pretty amazing that Gertrude Stein broke the rules in this way. This poem is a…[Read more]

  • Something I initially noticed when reading his poem out loud was Dickinson’s rhyming pattern. Words like “room” and “storm” or “fly” and “died” did not rhyme smoothly on my tongue when reading them, and I think that that’s an important thing to note. Dickinson was probably using this technique to create some sort of tension for the reader. The poe…[Read more]

  • I found this poem very intriguing and interesting. Dickinson portrays a grave state of depression and hopelessness. The speaker is trying to understand it’s condition and cure that condition but she is struggling immensely. I found it fascinating to visualize the speaker’s confusion. In lines 1 and 2 from stanza 1 the speaker states, “It was n…[Read more]

  • I definitely was intrigued by this poem and it’s use of the word “Nevermore”. The speaker himself is going insane from the responses of the raven. I found myself feeling a little frantic too by the repetition of “Nevermore”. This raven’s remarks are very important. “Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, ‘Doubtless,’…[Read more]

  • Mika Katz became a registered member 2 years, 6 months ago